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Honesty is the Best Policy but Don't Overshare

Oakstone International executive search: honesty is the best policy but don’t overshare

We’ve often talk about how honesty is always the best policy (Blog: Honesty is the best policy) – and it is, but how much of that honest information should you disclose in an interview or to your employer when you’re trying to make a good impression?

Interviews are put in place so that the employer and the prospective employee have a chance to get to learn more about one another – but what do prospective employers really need to know? There are usually a combination of ‘Professional questions’, such as ‘Why are you looking for a new position?’, ‘What drives you?’ etc. etc. and some interviews can sometimes include more personal questions such as ‘Do you have children?’, ‘Where do you live.’

What are you comfortable answering and to what level? It all depends what type of person you are and how open you are to sharing personal information, but should you share it?

Willingly giving personal information in an interview can go one of two ways – it either benefits you or could ruin your chances of getting the role, how much would risk giving personal information at the possibility of it going down badly?

Discrimination rules are in place to stop judgement on individuals however judgement is part of human nature and no matter what rules we put in place there will always be some judgement involved – especially during the interview process.

Not all companies and individuals will discriminate, however the reality is that we all judge. It will impact your chances if you give out too much information that what is required – you may be highly principled and want to tell all, regardless of the consequences – make sure you do so deliberately.  Of course, you can choose to only give away information that is related directly to you and the role – this will also save you from going off track in an interview.

Our advice is to always be honest in an interview but don’t over share irrelevant information – focus mostly on your professional self rather than your personal self.  You may think it’s important to tell the employer you have 2 children, are married, live in a house and are a 30-minute commute away but if it doesn’t relate directly to the role you are interviewing for it is oversharing and you never know how well what you say is going to be received.

You are being judged and unless you know how someone will judge you bear in mind that what you think to be a positive trait, skill or pastime may be seen by another as a negative.

It’s admirable to spend 5 hours a week on charity activities or in the gym – However, you don’t know if the person you are telling sees those as an asset or a liability.

It’s worth thinking; do I know for certain that this piece of information it going to add to my case – if not, only share it if you want to know the other persons reaction to it.  It’s important to know the different between honesty and oversharing.